How important is foundation? Very – it hides flaws, makes skin look fresh and dewy, and gives you a clean slate to apply other makeup. In other words, it’s the base for all of your work. But finding the right formula when there's a dizzying array of choices can be tough. Most importantly, a good foundation needs to fit your skin type, enhance your skin tone and of course, not break the bank. Luckily, SHOP.com can help you navigate which makeup works for you with their Foundation Buying Guide. Here’s the buzz on base:
Here are the basics
Color: Shade selection is crucial, and finding a perfect match is what can make or break your decision. To determine the best color, first, look at the undertone of your skin; does it have a bluish-pink (cool), yellowish (warm), olive or brown cast? Pick a shade that has pinkish pigment for blue-pink, yellow-peach for yellow, yellow for olive and brownish-yellow for brown. Look at the color's nuances (light, medium or dark) and choose accordingly, based on your skin shade. Test the tint along your jawline to see how well it complements your face and neck. The color should look natural, as if you're not wearing makeup at all.
Texture: Foundations come in many forms, which can be narrowed down to these four: cream, cream-to-powder, liquid and loose mineral powder. Some women choose a texture based on personal preference-they may like the feel of a super-hydrating liquid on their skin. Others choose based on their skin type: Dry types usually goes for a cream or liquid; oily or combination, an oil-free liquid or cream-to-powder; and sensitive, a loose powder or cream.
Coverage: foundation formulas give varying amounts of coverage; it just depends on how much you want. To even out your skin tone and enhance it, choose a sheer finish. Step it up for red blotches, acne scars or dark patches with a creamy, matte formula that's a bit heavier and can instantly erase imperfections. If you want to soften crinkles or fine lines and give your skin a youthful glow, an illuminating blend with light-enhancing ingredients helps deflect the eye away from flaws.
Application: Applying foundation doesn't have to be tricky; the main tools are a sponge, brush or your fingers. Sponges are usually best for creams, and you'll find that many of the potted and compact versions come with their own applicator. Stick foundations can be dabbed on, and then blended in with your fingertips. Powder foundations require a fluffy brush to help spread the makeup evenly. For liquid makeup, use a flat-haired foundation brush(resembles a paint brush), which will give you a good amount of coverage that won't look spotty.
Benefits: If you want your foundation to work for you, look for ingredients that go the distance. Some have SPF, so you're getting sun protection (though dermatologists suggest that you still need to apply a separate sunscreen to have complete coverage); anti-aging ingredients like retinol or peptides to minimize and prevent wrinkles; oil-free or acne-fighting ingredients to play down pimples; moisturizers for dry skin; or long-wearing features that last through sweat sessions, heat or humidity.
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